Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) — So many times when the big credit- rating companies have embarrassed themselves, the world has sighed and chalked it up to a business model that by design invites corruption and incompetence. Perhaps never before have the public’s expectations for the industry been lower.
The fundamental flaw is that the major rating companies, led by Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s, typically are paid by the issuers of the securities they rate, or by other deeply interested parties, such as Wall Street underwriters. Too often the raters seem to be the last to know that a company they dubbed investment grade was going broke, or that a mortgage bond once deemed AAA was about to default. The public sees these things and naturally draws a link between what the raters say and how they are compensated.